Transforming Transactions: The Rise of Tech-Driven B2B Payments in South Korea

Transforming Transactions: The Rise of Tech-Driven B2B Payments in South Korea

In South Korea, the fusion of high mobile penetration and tech savviness has created an unparalleled digital payments ecosystem. With a staggering 97.6% internet penetration rate, South Korea’s population is not only well-connected but also highly adept at leveraging technology for financial transactions. The country’s journey towards a cashless society is evident, with cash accounting for a mere 17% of total transactions. This shift is underpinned by the government’s vision for a “coinless society” and the rapid growth of fintech, setting the stage for a vibrant mobile payment landscape.

B2B Payments: Navigating the South Korean Economy 

The business payment environment in South Korea is characterized by a blend of traditional and modern practices. While the Ministry of Strategy and Finance mandates construction subcontractors to submit invoices every 30 days with payment within 5 days of compliance sign-off, other industries may operate on different terms. The prevalence of credit cards and digital wallets in B2B transactions reflects the country’s digital agility. However, the specifics of payment terms, such as net 30 or net 60, can vary widely and are often subject to negotiation between businesses.

User-Centric Design: The Heart of South Korea’s Business Payments

The South Korean payments market thrives on user-centric design and solutions. Fintech companies and financial institutions are recognizing the immense opportunities in creating B2B payment solutions that cater to the unique needs of the local market.

The success stories of kakaobank and Samsung-Tesco highlight the significance of a localized approach, where understanding the nuances of South Korean business norms and consumer behavior is crucial. This focus on user experience (UX) and localization is not just a trend but a necessity for payment platforms aiming to succeed in the APAC region.

South Korea: A Pillar in APAC's B2B payments 

The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is a critical player in the global payments economy, and South Korea is at the forefront of driving growth in this space. According to a report by McKinsey, Asia In 2021, Asia contributed 42 percent of world GDP (at purchasing power parity), more than any other region. 

South Korea's strategic position within the APAC region is significant. The country boasts advanced digital infrastructure and innovative payment solutions, which have helped shape payment trends and practices across the region and globally. South Korea is one of the most digitized countries in the world, with over 95% of the population using smartphones, and 90% of the population having access to high-speed internet. South Korea's influence in the global B2B payment space is also growing. It was ranked as the third-largest B2B e-commerce market in Asia and the tenth-largest economy globally. 

South Korea's role in cross-border payments within the APAC region has been increasingly significant, reflecting its robust economic performance and advanced digital infrastructure. Earlier this year, South Korea joined a global initiative to explore the tokenization of cross-border payments, showcasing its commitment to enhancing transaction efficiency and integrity. This move is part of a broader trend towards de-dollarization and the evolution of trade corridors, where countries are shifting away from the dollar in favor of regional currencies, which could redefine South Korea's position in the global financial space.

The Asia-Pacific(APAC) region is expected to generate 61.4% of global e-commerce revenue by 2024, with South Korea playing a pivotal role in this growth. The country's participation in projects like Agorá, alongside central banks and commercial lenders from seven countries, aims to address structural inefficiencies in cross-border payments, such as legal and regulatory disparities, and time zone variations. These efforts are aligned with the G20's Roadmap for enhancing cross-border payments, which emphasizes transparency and aims to reduce costs, increase speed, and expand access by 2027.

South Korea's proactive stance in the digital finance space, including updates to its foreign exchange regulations to simplify processes for offshore investors, positions it as a leader in the APAC region's payment trends. The country's initiatives to streamline securities transactions and improve communication with the international market further solidify its role as a key player in the evolving landscape of cross-border payments. 

In addition, South Korea's efforts to establish itself as a leader in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space are also expected to have a positive impact on its cross-border payments landscape. According to a report by Business Korea, South Korea's blockchain industry is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, driven by the government's support for blockchain technology and the country's strong IT infrastructure.

Overall, these recent reports suggest that South Korea's position as a dominant player in the APAC cross-border payments market is likely to remain strong in the coming years, supported by its strong economic performance, digital infrastructure, and initiatives to promote innovation in the financial sector. 

In conclusion, APAC's growing influence in the global payments economy, with South Korea as a key player, is undeniable. The country's advanced digital infrastructure, innovative payment solutions, and strategic position in the region are driving growth and shaping payment trends and practices across the world. 


South Korea represents a strategic and lucrative market for payment leaders, fintech executives, and payment service providers looking to expand their global footprint. The country boasts a highly developed economy, ranked as the 10th-largest in the world, with a strong emphasis on technology and innovation. South Korea’s advanced IT infrastructure and high internet penetration rate provide a solid foundation for digital payment solutions. 

The local populace is exceptionally tech-savvy, with a significant portion of transactions being cashless, facilitated by popular mobile payment applications like KakaoPay and Naver Pay. The government’s supportive stance towards fintech, including regulatory sandboxes and incentives for innovation, further enhances the appeal of the South Korean market for financial services. For international merchants and payment leaders, the key to unlocking this market lies in embracing digitization, user-centric design, and strategic localization

As your trusted UX advisor, WDIR offers unparalleled expertise in user-centric design and strategy. We work with leading financial institutions and innovative fintechs globally to create seamless, secure, and intuitive payment experiences. Get in touch today!